The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Assembly budget ups minimum wage ante

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's minimum wage proposal was cut from the state Assembly's budget.

That's because the Assembly Majority wants to see a higher increase, with the future rate tied to inflation. More than 100 members of the Assembly voted in favor of a $9 per hour rate earlier this month.

And instead of leaving the door open on the $8.75 rate proposed by Cuomo, the Assembly struck it from their budget. An overview of the budget is available below.

Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Colonie, supports the higher rate and doesn't expect the Assembly will drop the issue. The final rate, he said, will likely be set by ongoing negotiations in the budget process.

At this point, Steck predicted a minimum wage increase will be in the state budget that gets adopted.

This means successfully negotiating with Cuomo and the Senate Majority, which has a vague gradual increase in their proposed budget.

"The Senate will consider modifications to the Executive proposal to increase the minimum wage," reads the Senate's budget resolution.

"Like wages for many workers, the minimum wage has not kept up with the pace of inflation," it reads. "The Senate will consider phasing in any minimum wage increase over three years beginning in 2013"

Steck noted that the issue isn't negotiated in a vacuum and highlighted the fact that other areas, like education funding, are also being discussed. For instance, he said an $8.75 per hour rate, which was proposed by Cuomo, might be acceptable to him if it came out of education spending negotiations that were beneficial for his district.

Steck's confidence about the adoption of a minimum wage increase stems from the Senate's unique power sharing agreement, which includes the five-member Independent Democratic Conference, who support an increase. He argued that it's in their interest to side with the Senate Democrats to include an increase in the budget.

"If there is anyone to blame if it doesn't past it would be the Independent Democrats in the Senate," he said.

More on the budget and the minimum wage will be in the Friday issue of The Daily Gazette.

Follow @poozer87 for developments on the state budget.

Assembly Budget Overview by DailyGazette

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